How to Move Through Life Transitions

Friday, March 3, 2017

Life transitions have inner and outer manifestations. They often begin internally, without us really noticing. The "transition energy" becomes stronger and stronger until it surfaces into consciousness, and then it wants to be brought into the world, into our lives with others. Often, parts of life transitions are no fun at all, while other parts are pretty exciting. You could say that something new is starting to happen; that it's on its way. It's not even that we "choose" something new; we just sense it coming in. Like a new curve in the river of life.
First Phase: Drop in Energy
You've been in a relationship for a while, or a job or profession. For a long time, it felt right; there was energy in it. As always happens, we learn, we grow, we change. Sometimes the relationship or job/profession allows the change, grows along with us. Sometimes, it doesn't. So you notice you're a bit bored, or it's easier to get irritated, or you're feeling sad or a bit depressed. This can be a sign that you and the person or thing you've been involved in are drifting apart; you're not fitting together anymore. You begin to wonder if you want to continue, but the thought is subtle, and you push it away.
Or it could be that your health isn't what it used to be. What you've always been able to do isn't possible anymore. You want to hold onto to your identity as it has been, but, realistically, you can't.
Second Phase: Fear
The thought/feeling becomes stronger: "I'm not happy in this, and I haven't been happy for a while now. Or maybe this was never the right thing for me. But, OMG, it would be awful to leave. What would I do? Would I be alone? Would I be able to find another job/profession? I don't want to change my life to meet where my health is now. What's going to happen to me?" All the negatives rear up like rattle snakes threatening you. You try to push the whole thing down again, but it doesn't work like it did before.
Third Phase: Try to Improve Your Current Situation
Usually, the best thing to do is to see if things can change within the relationship, job, profession, or whatever it is that you just can't make your peace with anymore. If it's a relationship, bring up what's been upsetting you, what you'd like to see change. Share your imagination of the ideal relationship. See how your partner reacts-verbally, non-verbally and in their behavior. If they agree, if they have the same vision you do, if they begin to act differently and this makes you feel close again, great!
Same thing with a job or profession. Say there's a certain negative person or culture that makes you feel hopeless. The same conflicts come up over and over; a way of doing things that's just not effective. Whatever it is. Think about what how you'd like it to be. What part can you do to try to make it how you want it? Something that would make you freer, more able to be yourself. Try speaking up, making suggestions, or changing how you do your job. See if it makes a difference in the whole environment, or not. If there are treatments you can undergo to have a chance at bettering your health, you could try them. How would you make the changes?
Fourth Phase: Actively Imagine the Transition
OK. You've tried your very best to be who you are in your current/old situation. You've brought up your needs to you partner; you've worked out how to feel close again. In your job, you've done your best to change things so that you can feel fulfilled in what's, after all, a huge part of your days. You've tried the treatments. But it becomes clear your partner just doesn't share your vision and doesn't support the changes. Or your boss continues to berate people, the conflicts at work continue to cycle with no resolution in sight. You feel hopeless, you hate going to work. Whatever the situation you've been trying to change, the changes just don't stick. It keeps reverting back to negative.
Now is the time to begin to imagine what you want in great detail. At first, you'll have no idea. There's a blank space in front of you. There's a feeling of drifting, of nothingness, of not knowing. Stay with that feeling, while also staying with knowing the change needs to happen. Interestingly, ideas will start to come, little-or big-inspirations will arise, you'll meet new people who share your interests, and so on. Grab onto these. Write down the ideas and inspirations; get to know the new people; follow leads, and so on. The more you do this, the more clarity you'll achieve.
Fifth Phase: Do It. Make the Transition
You've got the end-goal in your mind. But of course you can't necessarily get there all at once. Maybe you need to break the whole thing into manageable chunks. A part of you might still be digging its heels in, which will make you want to go off on tangents, or to drift in place, while another part wants to move forward. Whenever you have energy to take on a chunk, do it, even if it's a small thing. Keep the end-goal, the vision, in your sight all the time-or as much as you can. When you take a small or big step, give yourself lots of credit; appreciate your courage. And then take on the next chunk, until you're in your new place. Or, if it's health related, keep working on yourself inside, until you've made a shift to accept what is and live as peacefully as possible in it.

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